The Rajapaksas have an almost childlike love for over-the-top accolades. Fortunately for them, the Sinhala-Buddhist Sangha seems to possess an inexhaustible store of such exotic name-boards.

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

“There is something in human history like retribution; and it’s a rule of historical retribution that its instruments be forged not by the offended but by the offender himself.”
Marx (The Indian Revolt)

The 2015 presidential election; as analysts and astrologers proclaimed and predicted a Mahinda Rajapaksa victory, a beggar in Galle made a bet that the winner will be Maithripala Sirisena. At the 2010 presidential election, the beggar had voted for Mahinda Rajapaksa. In the after years, whenever President Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary Rajapaksa or Parliamentarian Rajapaksa was scheduled to go by, the police would forcibly herd all beggars out of the royal-sight. From this personal experience, the beggar in Galle extrapolated a national truth: the Rajapaksas were insulating themselves from the living reality of ordinary people; such a disconnect cannot but lead to eventual electoral defeat.

Just two years into Gotabaya-Mahinda-Basil rule, an even greater disconnect is developing between the ruling family and ordinary Lankans.

Whether those at the milk-powder queue near the Jubilee Post hooted at the passing presidential motorcade – or not – is moot. What matters is the aftermath.

Following the ‘incident,’ the Mirihana police descended on the outlet in force. This visitation gave rise to another spate of rumours. The police issued a statement saying that the President had wished to discover why there was a queue outside a milk-powder outlet. The police visitation was actually a fact finding mission.

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